Table of Contents

Tooth Decay Stages: 5 Stages and Treatment Options

Tooth decay is the result of damage to your teeth. Cavities, oral abscesses, and tooth rot may ensue. This disorder is caused by germs found in tooth plaque. A bacterial illness may cause sugar in the diet to be converted into acid. When plaque builds up over time, this acid may cause severe issues in the teeth. We’ll go through each step, detail how to treat dental decay, and teach you how to avoid it. Additionally, dental abrasion may be a severe issue when teeth are decaying or plaque-damaged.

tooth cavities

How to Detect Cavities

Holes in the Tooth

Perhaps the most obvious sign of a dental cavity in your teeth is a visible hole on your tooth’s top (or middle areas). You can feel holes with your tongue or by looking into a mirror. See a dentist immediately if you find any.

Tooth Discoloration

A filmy white patch on your teeth or tooth enamel that appears much whiter than yours is a sign of plaque, which could eventually become a dental cavity. A damaged tooth enamel will begin producing much darker discolorations, such as dark yellow, brown, gray, or even black spots on your tooth.

Having Bad Breath

As the tooth continues to decay, bacterial infection will rapidly increase in number, eventually resulting in bad breath. This will occur regardless of how often you brush, which strongly indicates the need for dental check-ups. Bad breath is mainly accompanied by a foul mouth taste, even when you have just brushed.


A dental cavity or cavities left untreated for long periods eventually lead to frequent toothaches. This discomforting pain – a result of bacteria acids getting to the root and nerve endings – should be directed immediately to your dentist.

Tooth Sensitivity

A dental cavity makes your sensitive teeth feel more sensitive than they ordinarily should be. Drinking something hot or cold will easily elicit a painful feeling in the affected tooth, but this pain fades as soon as the drink passes. Sweet foods will likely draw the same feeling too. At its most critical when biting and chewing becomes difficult due to sensitivity. While you can always try sensitive toothpaste, you must see your dentist if the symptom persists.


Pus (tooth abscess) is a severe indication of not just tooth pain but also infection. It can result in pain, fever and swollen glands. Do not try pricking or touching the pus when noticed. Inform a professional dentist for immediate help.

Early detection and treatment of pus can prevent many problems as we advance. Beyond the promise of a healthy smile, it promotes healthy living.

Diagnosing a Tooth Decay

Dental Exams and X-Rays

Regular dental exams are the most crucial step in detecting dental caries. During a dental exam, the dentist will visually inspect the teeth for any signs of damage or decay and examine the gums, tongue, and other parts of the mouth. X-rays may also be taken to help the dentist see any decay that is not visible to the naked eye. These images can help the dentist determine the extent and location of the decay and plan the best course of treatment.

The Importance of Regular Checkups

Regular checkups are essential for detecting tooth cavities in their early stages when it is easier to treat. You should schedule check-ups at least twice a year or as the dentist recommends. It helps to ensure that any issues are caught early and treated before they become more serious. Dentists play a crucial role in detecting tooth decay. They have the training and experience to spot the signs of a tooth decay process, even in its earliest stages. They can also use various diagnostic tools, such as x-rays, to get a complete picture of what is happening inside the tooth. Once it is detected, the dentist will proceed with the tooth decay treatment. They can provide treatment to restore the tooth’s health and prevent further damage. Therefore, regular visits to the dentist are essential to maintaining good oral health and preventing it.

The Risk Factors of Early Tooth Decay and Cavities

Some of the most common risk factors for early tooth decay and cavities include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Eating sugary foods and drinks
  • Not getting enough fluoride toothpaste
  • Dry mouth
  • And certain medical conditions

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

There are many ways to prevent dental cavities, but the most important is maintaining good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and  checkups. It also includes using mouthwash, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding sugary drinks.

How to Treat a Decayed Tooth

There are a few different ways to treat cavities. The most common is to fill the cavity with a special dental filling. This can be done by your dentist or by another healthcare professional. Another way to treat cavities is to have them sealed. This is done by putting a special sealant on the teeth. This sealant helps to prevent plaque and bacteria from building up in the cavities. If the cavities are severe, you may need a root canal. This is a procedure where the dentist removes the infected tissue from the tooth. After a root canal, you must have a crown on the tooth. Be sure to see our dentists and Westgate Dental Clinic immediately if you notice any sign of tooth decay. Our dentists can show you how to prevent cavities and treat any existing ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

The treatment for baby bottle tooth decay includes reducing the time the baby’s teeth are exposed to sweet beverages, practicing proper oral hygiene, and going to the dentist regularly.

Yes, it can be a severe problem if left untreated. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce acid that attacks the enamel, causing a cavity. Over time, the cavity can grow and penetrate deeper into the tooth, leading to infection, pain, and in some cases, tooth loss.

Dental caries, also known as cavities, is a condition in which the enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth, breaks down and creates a hole or opening. This is typically caused by a buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums.

Its advancements include improved diagnosis through advanced dental technology, better prevention with products such as fluoride toothpaste, more effective treatments with dental bonding and resin-based composites, and increased awareness through education and prevention efforts. These advancements have led to earlier detection, stronger teeth, and overall improved oral health.

Cavities, gum disease, tooth fracture, abscess, sinusitis, tooth grinding, TMJ, or dental procedures can cause tooth pain. Consult a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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